Builder and Town of Bracebridge Found Negligent in Construction and Inspection

When one moves into a newly renovated or constructed home, they place their trust in the hands of the construction contractors and building inspectors to ensure that the building is up to code.

Will Davidson LLP Huntsville lawyers, Partner David Morin and Associate Peter Reinitzer, represented the plaintiff in this case, White v. The Corporation of The Town of Bracebridge, that proceeded to a six-day trial and examined the obligations of the contractor who built the house and also the municipal building inspector.

In March 2012, the plaintiff purchased a house from the defendant, Grand. During the time of the purchase, Grand was in the process of renovating the property and was adding a two-storey addition to the home. While much of the construction was being done in accordance with the building permit that the Town of Bracebridge issued, there were many parts of the construction that were not. After construction was finalized, the home passed the Town’s building department’s inspection.

Two years later, in March 2014, the plaintiff noticed watermarks on the wall and landing area around the newly-constructed stairs. A month later and upon further investigation by a contractor, the plaintiff was told the water began entering the house through the ceiling in the new addition. As investigations began to intensify, the number of construction deficiencies and breaches of the Ontario Building Code (that were completed by Grand) began to grow – with the Town failing to catch these flaws in construction during inspection.

Justice DiTomaso stated that contractors owe a duty of care when designing and constructing a building to ensure that subsequent purchasers are not prone to the defects – which could ultimately cause danger and injury. Justice DiTomaso also noted that poor defects in construction could result in injury to the occupants and that the Ontario Building Code provides the minimum standards for construction – which in reality, were not met.

When asked about a crucial component of the case, Reinitzer answered that “one element particular to this case was the fact that the person who sold the house to our client, had left the province and was not participating in the litigation.” He continued to say that “the worry in situations like that is that, even if our client wins at trial, it can be difficult to enforce a judgment. That’s why it was so important for us to establish that the Town was also at fault for failing to identify and rectify the construction deficiencies during the inspection process.”

This is important because, as Justice DiTomaso pointed out in the decision, “the Ontario Building Code provides a set of minimum standards to ensure the safety of construction. People who buy houses are entitled to assume that construction has been subjected to municipal oversight and should be able to rest easy knowing that at least the initial construction of their dwelling has met minimum safety provisions.” Our firm’s investigation uncovered that did not happen in this case, which contributed to the presence of serious construction defects in the home our client purchased. This discovery allowed our lawyers, David and Peter, to include the town in the lawsuit and ultimately allowed our client to recover from them without having to chase down the out-of-province defendant.

If you or a family member have been a victim of commercial contraction disputes, contact Will Davidson LLP today to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation with an experienced commercial contraction dispute lawyer. Our team will assess your claim, explain your legal options, and provide support and guidance throughout your recovery. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help.

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